Can’t Make it to #SHRM18? Turn That FOMO Frown Upside Down & Map Out Your Options!

Most of us who have been to a SHRM conference are all too familiar with the high that comes with such a meeting of the minds: the expos and freebies, the strangers-become-friends who nerd out over payroll, employee engagement, and their craziest HR stories; the rows of books and merch – it’s the perfect place to collaborate, make new friends, bond with our teams (if you’ve got one!), and show the world we’re proud of our inner-HR nerd!

As we all know, #SHRM18 has just kicked off in Chicago! For those of you who couldn’t make it to SHRM for whatever reason, and are watching the tweets and excitement from your home (raises hand), don’t lament! There are plenty of ways you can still get involved with (or without) SHRM, mingle and collaborate with other HR pros and friends, and develop your career.

  • Not sure where to start? Try your local SHRM chapter (find out where your chapter is here: SHRM Chapters). Not only is the local chapter better on your budget, but it’s a nice baby step into SHRM, your HR community, and local events that can help you network and get your name and ideas out there. If you’re not sure how much money, time, or energy you can commit, but you’re still dedicated to expanding your thoughts and network, this is a great step.
  • SHRM not for you? To each their own. Then take a peek at a few other HR conferences in your area, based on your specialty or area of interest. Some industry favorites are the Association for Talent Development (, Human Capital Institute (, LinkedIn Talent Connect (LinkedIn Talent Connect), and the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans ( Whether you’re more focused on engagement, recognition, recruiting, or benefits, you’ll find something that suits your fancy!
  • Been to so many conferences that you’ve seen it all, you’re over the status quo, and need some inspiration? Try DisruptHR (! With a presence in around 40 cities across multiple countries (and growing), the “Rebellious Future of HR” tagline, and access to passionate, informed talks about how we can overhaul our mindset and practices to catch up with the evolving world of work, you’re sure to find at least a few new ideas to reignite your spark.
  • Not interested in networking or seeing people in large groups? I hear you: you’re “on” all day, and rubbing elbows with strangers isn’t your jam. Consider joining an HR book club (if I may make a recommendation, you can always start here: and connecting with your peers over social media. You get to learn from literature and others, all without leaving the comfort of your own home. It’s a win-win!

While I can’t compliment SHRM’s conferences enough, and highly recommend attending at least one in your HR lifetime, it’s OK that life gets in the way! Whether you’re new to HR, new to your job, have company budget restrictions, or simply couldn’t make the timing work, don’t beat yourself up too much when you can’t make the big events. There are always other options, and there’s always time to plan for #SHRM19, to boot!

Do any of you have other ideas that have helped you connect and collaborate with fellow HR pros in your cities? What are you go-to tips in and out of SHRM? We’d all love to hear from you! In the meantime, for those of you who are in Chi-town, enjoy #SHRM18, and please have some deep dish pizza for us!


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